As a parent, we tend to forget about our own needs or simply put them on hold so we can be the best parent we know how to be.
I know that when I paused college to have my first son, it was tough getting back into that mindset. It was even harder with two as my husband decided he wanted to go to college.
I won’t lie, going to college and being a parent, a wife, husband and working, is not easy but it can totally be done. You just need the right mindset and some tips to make it happen!
Here are some ideas to keep in mind should you find yourself in this situation.
Tips for Going Back to School As A Busy Parent
Getting Into The Learning Mindset
You’ve developed and changed. The way you learn now is completely different from the way you did in school. And if you learned under duress or were someone that crammed the night before an exam, it’s important to remember that now you have to get into a learning mindset.
In some ways, you’ve got the advantage of life experience. For example, studying is pretty much the same thing as it always was! But this means that you’ve got to make the most of the help where you can. There’s a handy guide on the Northeastern University website relating to top study habits.
Partly, it can springboard you into a whole new way of learning information but you’ve also got to understand your own learning style. It could very well be the fact that you don’t get on well with the information.
You might be an auditory learner or have a completely different learning style from everyone else. And if you are in a class where you are given spot tests on your memory this may make you feel like a rabbit in the headlights, but the most important thing to remember is that you go back and learn information the best way for you.
Planning Your Life
Being a parent and going back to college means that you’ve got to find a balance. Even if you are doing one class a week, when there are children that need looking after, when are you going to fit in extra study time?
Before you know it a week has gone by and you need to go back to class but you’ve not been able to do a single thing! This means that you’ve got to plan your life accordingly.
Yes, there may be times when our children get unwell, and while this means that we’re not able to even go to class but if you can plan your life accordingly and structure everything this will give you a fighting chance. If you look at how much extra study time you need to do if you can divide that into sections this will work in your favor.
For example, if you need to study for two hours throughout the week you could break it down into six days- that’s 20 minutes of studying every night. And even if that seems like a long chunk in one go, you can break it down even further throughout the course of the day.
The great advantage you would have in doing this is that it doesn’t feel like a massive study session which can be quite intense. This will give you the opportunity to absorb information better.
Also, having support from family, friends and even your spouse, can make a world of difference.
Remembering The Bigger Picture
There will be times when you feel out of your depth or you don’t know why you are doing this. And whether you have decided to learn a language or get that qualification that evaded you in the past it’s these things that will keep you on track. When we’ve got so many different stresses as a parent, we might feel that going to a night class or doing a course could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
But there is a reason that you’ve decided that this is something you must do. And they can be times when you feel like you’re back in school and all those horrible memories come flooding back. But the important thing to think about in the long term is what this course will do for you.
The people you are on the course with, it’s unlikely you will see them ever again, and when you are doing a two hour course every week it’s a very small fraction of your life. Going back to school can be the best thing you will ever do but it can feel like there will be bumps along the way. Trust me, it will be worth it.